Whose voices do we hear?
FemWealth Issue #2
“Whose voice do you hear... when you think of intelligence, innovation, and ideas that shape our worlds? Whose voices are dismissed, diminished and erased, when we hear the stories of glories past and present, discoveries far and near?” - Joy Buolamwini, Voicing Erasure
These questions distill the essence of how society often defaults to a standard narrative: the lone genius, the brilliant entrepreneur, or the powerful politician. Countless stories and brilliant personalities have been and continue to be erased from history and history-in-the-making.
By defaulting to standard views and narratives, society misses out on enormous potential and creative forces. Women | womxn, especially those belonging to ethnic minorities, are, with or without intention, disproportionately left out or pushed away from important conversations, decision-making processes, and fields of knowledge. Progress towards gender equality is being done, but far from fast enough.
I started this project to shine a light on the women | womxn in STEAM fields who “put a dent in the universe” through their knowledge, craft, talent, and art, inspired by the creative and entrepreneurial group Auxilia (join the LinkedIn group), founded by Georgie Smallwood, CPO of Tier Mobility and a Seed Investor.
Aware of my privilege and potential unconscious biases, I also invite you to contribute with your input and feedback.
This week’s profiles in STEAM + :
May-Britt Moser, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2014
Professor Moser was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for her work in discovering the grid cells - a network of brain cells in the entorhinal cortex (right next to the hippocampus) that determine our sense of space and time. She finds pure joy in observing lab rats munch on chocolate, and hear their brain impulses emit popcorn popping sounds.
May-Britt Moser is passionate about unlocking the secrets of the brain and finding ways to help heal it. In 2020, Moser became the Deputy Head of the K. G. Jebsen Centre for Alzheimer’s Disease, aimed at determining how Alzheimer’s disease arises in the brain and its early stages of development.
Tan Le, CEO, and co-founder of Emotiv
At age four, Tan Le flew from Vietnam, on a boat, together with her mother and sister in search of a better and safer life. After being rescued on the sea, they reached Malaysia, and later Australia. From a young age, she was fascinated by the brain and the idea of moving objects with the power of thoughts.
With a background in Law and Commerce, Le sold her company aged 26. Thereafter, she “wanted to explore questions of science and venture” and “to purposely find something that I could really devote my life to that would be a lifelong endeavor [...] a field that would have vast possibility and would allow me to reinvent the way things are done”.
After a serendipitous meeting with Dr. Allan Snyder, a scientist, Le co-founded Emotiv, a neurotech startup on a mission to identify emotions from brain data. Their first consumer product Epoc - a wireless, portable EEG (electroencephalogram) device - scanned users’ emotions and enabled them to move objects shown on a computer screen. It was sold mainly as an open-ended research device.
Emotiv’s breakthrough came after their technology was used by Rodrigo Hubner Mendes, a quadriplegic man, to drive a Formula One car with only the power of his thoughts. Since the company has launched several devices for individual, commercial, and scientific purposes.
Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO of Ellevest
This week, Sallie Krawcheck, “the most powerful woman on Wall Street”, achieved a major milestone: $1B in assets under management on her platform Ellevest, a financial company “built by women for women”. Krawcheck, a seasoned financial industry executive, is leading the way to closing the gender money gaps. She is also the Chair of the Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s network that provides networking opportunities, peer-to-peer coaching, and professional education for women.
Listen to the Ellevate Network podcasts
Natalia Oberti Noguera, Founder, and CEO of Pipeline Angels
“When the most marginalized voices are leading the conversation - that’s when inclusion happens”
Oberti Noguera wants to bring “more voices to invest in more voices”, i.e. for more diverse investors to support more diverse entrepreneurs. The Pipeline Angels network gives entrepreneurs access to “untapped local capital”, and operates all across the US, including in Alaska and Puerto Rico. One of their portfolio companies, Blendoor founded by MIT and Stanford University alumna Stephanie Lampkin, battles bias in hiring.
Arts x Computer Science → Public Interest Tech
Joy Buolamwini, Poet of Code, AI Researcher, Digital Activist, Founder of the Algorithmic Justice League
During an art project, Joy Buolamwini, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT Media Lab realized that her face was not recognized by a facial recognition camera. Only when she put a white mask on, did the camera identify her facial traits. Through her organization, the Algorithmic Justice League, Buolamwini advocates for “transparency during the design, development, and deployment of AI systems” and audits the facial recognition algorithms of tech giants.
She also coined the term “coded gaze”, which reflects “who has the power to shape the priorities that we put in place when we’re creating AI and who shapes the preferences”, and “reflects our prejudices, our limitations”. “The interesting thing is no one has to be malicious for the coded gaze to manifest”, emphasizes Buolamwini.
Listen to these thought-provoking poems by Joy Buolamwini:
The Coded Gaze: Bias in AI (Joy Buolamwini | DLD Munich 20
FemWealth curated content:
Miami startup Asteya launches to provide ‘income insurance’ - the Bumble's bee swarm takes flight
Female founders received just 1% of funding in the CEE region in 2020 (approx. 13% of the region’s startups are founded by women)
Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome [must read] - strong piece challenging the concept of “imposter syndrome” - Do you agree? What are your experiences related to the “imposter syndrome “?
The world’s first Mylo™️ garments created from vegan mushroom leather - Stella McCartney launches the world’s first-ever garments made from vegan, lab-grown Mylo™️ mushroom leather
The monkey, the tiger beetle, and the language of innovation - find out what 10 years of moonshot taking taught the team at X (Alphabet’s “moonshot factory”, about the importance of language and choosing their words wisely.
FemWealth recommended events:
Thank you to my dear friends Caroline, Eri, Roxana, and Verena for sending across some great recommendations.
Would you like to also contribute with ideas, content, or recommendations (articles you wrote, interesting news you came across, music created by/ featuring female/femme artists, movies, books, event tips, or anything worth sharing)? The same goes for feedback :). Feel free to get in touch!
Founder and writer @FemWealth
P.S. Check out my first Substack post if you haven’t seen it yet.